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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Apr. 1, 202105:10 AM EST

Reconnect with these smaller events

Bump a fist or offer your elbow to a colleague at a JBA in-person event.

By Blane McCarthy, JBA Board of Governors

Blane McCarthy

You probably share the sentiment expressed in this article’s title.

We’re thankful for technology platforms that allow us to continue conducting the business of our law practices during the pandemic. We also are blessed that our local judiciary has embraced technology and ascended the steep learning curve we all faced.   

Still, many of us feel socially disconnected despite Zoom and Microsoft Teams. We miss live, in-person seminars. We miss luncheons and the communal sharing of a meal. We miss interacting with our colleagues at the many social events of the past.

The Jacksonville Bar Association strives to balance the need for programming with the responsibility of honoring governmental recommendations while maintaining member safety.

That said, the JBA leadership shares your frustration and longing for more interpersonal events.

Association President Michelle Bedoya Barnett challenged the board of governors to create and sponsor smaller-scale JBA in-person events.

Here are the results of our collective efforts:

  • St. Patty’s Day with the Jacksonville Icemen was March 17. Governor Cyndy Trimmer hosted this evening of fellowship and ice hockey at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in coordination with the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association. Forty JBA members gained free admission and a few even rode the Zamboni.
  • April 3 is the JBA’s Excursion to Dogwood Park. Join board member Jamie Karpman and her family for a day at Dogwood Park with free admission for your family and your canine. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.
  • Happy Hour on the Riverfront. Board member Shannon Schott invites members to this event April 8 in the gardens at Epping Forest Yacht Club. The first 25 registered members will get two free drinks and appetizers.
  • April 10 is the association’s Historical Bicycle Tour of Downtown Jacksonville. Board member Asghar Syed and Leigh Burdett from e2ride Bike Tours will lead a three-hour ride past historical landmarks in Downtown Jacksonville. The ride begins at 8:45 a.m.  It’s free for the first 25 registered members, who must provide their own bicycles.
  • Happy Hour at Mellow Mushroom in Avondale begins at 5 p.m. April 15. Board member Christian George will host this social, with free appetizers to all who register, and two free drinks for the first 25 registered members.
  • April 19, Rendezvous on the Rooftop is back to raise money for the nonprofit Dreams Come True. Admission to the evening event at Burrito Gallery in Brooklyn includes two drink tickets, drink specials, heavy hors d’oeuvres and one raffle ticket.
  • Learn how to play pickleball on April 25. I will host this event at my home with the owner of the Jax Pickleball Store providing an introductory lesson and starter kit to each attendee before we play a friendly tournament on my court.
  • May 22 is JBA Family Fun Day at Riverfront Plaza, former site of the Jacksonville Landing. Board members Fraz Ahmed and Adina Pollan have put together an outing with carnival games and food trucks. Lunch is provided to the first 25 registered members.
  • Join board member Brian Coughlin at 121 Financial Ballpark when the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp play the Durham Bulls at 7:05 p.m. May 27. Limited free tickets and $15 food and beverage vouchers are available for JBA members.
  • Date and location TBD: Spring has Sprung! Join board member Lindsay Tygart for a happy hour gathering. The first 25 registered members will get two free drinks and appetizers.

Details and registration links to these events can be found at

The JBA’s larger in-person events may have to wait a bit longer, but why not step away from your webcam and physically interact with your fellow Bar members? We’ll have some “Hello, my name is...” badges to help us reconnect. Come extend a hand, bump a fist or offer your elbow to a colleague.  

Blane McCarthy is a board-certified civil trial lawyer who represents injury victims and is a state Supreme Court Certified Circuit Mediator.

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